Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin, Amy Irving
“Nothing mattered to me except getting this movie made.” – Barbra Streisand
As much as musicals put women at the forefront, it’s rare to see one directed by a woman, but Barbra Streisand’s Yentl is a key exception. Directed, co-written and co-produced by its lead star, Yentl also earned Streisand the honour of becoming the first – and so far only – woman to receive a Golden Globe for directing.
Based on Leah Napolin and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s play of the same name (itself based on Singer’s short story), Yentl sees Streisand portraying a young woman living in an Ashkenazi shtetl named Pechev in Poland in 1904. Desperate to receive an education in Talmudic Law before her father dies, she decides to dress and live like a man and enters a religious school in Bychawa, falling for a fellow student (Mandy Patinkin) along the way.
Even though Streisand was at the height of her fame when making Yentl, she had to fight for a decade to make it a reality. The result is a heartfelt, passionate, funny, kitschy and exceptionally charming film with an Academy Award winning score and songs by frequent Jacques Demy collaborator Michel Legrand, who sadly passed away in January 2019.